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04/30/2013

WCAB affirms Dismissal of TIA /“Mini-Stoke” PA case

Recently, the Appeal Board affirmed a WCJ’s Decision dismissing a Claim Petition where Claimant alleged that he had a TIA/“mini-stroke” that was associated with a work-related surgery. Dennis Cullen, the managing partner of our Harrisburg office, litigated the case before the WCJ and Appeal Board.

Claimant sustained a work related rotator-cuff tear. The rotator-cuff tear required surgery and Claimant was on blood thinners due to a pre-existing non-work-related condition. Claimant alleged that because he needed to wean himself off of the blood thinners in the weeks leading up to surgery and that he had the TIA episode hours before he was to leave for his rotator-cuff surgery, that his disability as a result of the mini-stroke was work-related. He claimed that but for his need to wean off the blood thinners, he would not have had the TIA. Claimant’s doctor admitted that he could not confirm that there was an actual obstruction in the artery was due to a blood clot. In fact, the doctor had told a local newspaper reporter, and then was forced to admit during his deposition, that Claimant’s artery was seventy percent blocked and that percentage blockage alone could have caused him to suffer a TIA or even die. The doctor was being interviewed because of an experimental procedure that he performed on Claimant to address the blockage.

The Judge dismissed the Claim Petition finding that Claimant was unable to prove that the weaning from the blood thinners was the cause of his TIA episode.